Source: Penguin Random House – I received this in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Edition: Hardcover, 304 Pages
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
There was no warning the day magic died in Talhaven. It happened with a giant explosion and the arrival of a skyship full of children, all with magic running through their veins and no memory of home.
Rook and Drift are two of those children, and ever since that day, they’ve been on the run, magical refugees in a world that doesn’t trust magic. Because magic doesn’t die right away–it decays, twists, and poisons all that it touches. And now it’s beginning to poison people.
Try as they might, Rook and Drift can’t remember anything about their lives before Talhaven. But it’s beginning to look like they’re the only ones who can save their adopted world . . . if that world doesn’t destroy them first.
The Door to the Lost is a standalone adventure for young readers that is so full of heart and magic that it’s sure to be a hit.
It’s been too long since I last dived into a middle-grade novel, I had forgotten just how refreshing some of the novels in that age range can be and I’m so glad I had The Door to the Lost to remind me of that. In Lost, we meet Rook and Drift, two best friends who have been cast out by society due to their magic. They do what they can to make ends meet, but a job takes an unexpected turn and they find themselves in more danger than before. This book has a few different themes that it touches on, and I think it does so in highly relatable ways that younger audiences will have no issues being able to understand and feel what the characters are going through. We see it touch on family, friendship, loneliness, and what it means to be home; and I really think it shines when it comes to presenting these in heartfelt ways. Drift and Rook, and later Fox, have a beautiful friendship that is so incredibly supportive and I loved seeing such a strong bond especially between two female characters. It seems like books geared towards older audiences shy away from that, and I’m thankful that middle grade still takes the time to really hone in on the wonderful bond between two people that grow up together. The concept of home is one that really stands out as well, as Drift and Rook deal with being ostracized for who they are and feel out of place in a world that isn’t really their own. I think in some ways this touches very lightly on an immigration experience that we don’t get to see in a lot of younger fiction.
I think that Jaliegh Johnson does a wonderful job with The Door to the Lost. It’s a standalone fantasy with fantastic worldbuilding and a ton of heart, hooking the reader from page one. She is a new author for me and I’m really excited to try out her other books. If you are looking for Middle Grade with focus on strong bonds or a standalone fantasy that is easy to get into, then The Door to the Lost is for you!